The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is the original Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell. Written over 60 years ago, The Hundred Dresses, addresses the theme of bullies and the fact that kids want to fit in and will tell a tall tale or two to try and do so. Both books deal with these and a few other issues.
As in Adrian (who is poor, wants friends and tells a pretty tall-tale about having a horse) The Hundred Dresses sees a young girl who is shy, poor, wears one dress all the time and has a funny name being picked on because the other school kids think it is funny she says she has 100 dresses at home, but only wears for special occasions.
This is okay, right? After all, they are not bad kids, thinks our narrator. They would be sad when an animal is mistreated, if a friend is in trouble they would help, and they would stand up to kids being bullied right? And after all, everyone is laughing so that makes it okay, right? And Peggy (the leader of the teasing) is the most popular girl, so if she says anything Peggy and the other girls would start “in on her” as well.
Of course, our heroine comes around at the end and does feel sorry for her lack of action. Of course, one does wonder if Peggy and the other students really learned their lesson.
Based loosely on Estes’s own experiences, this is a classic story that has an interesting place in today’s reading world. While, I did not OMG LOVE this, I am glad it finally found itself on my reading line-up. (Link is the hardcover edition with the letter by the authors daughter.)